Albanian students protest for 13th day, refusing dialogue with PM

Source:Xinhua Published: 2018/12/18 8:13:56

Albanian students continued their protest for the 13th day on Monday in front of the Prime Minister's headquarters, asking the government to meet their eight requests and refusing to dialogue.

After protesting for about three hours, the students split up and blocked one of the main roads in the capital city Tirana.

The students in Tirana started protesting on Dec. 4 against the rise of fees at universities.

On Dec. 6 the protest spread to universities around the country, including public universities in Elbasan, Durres, Shkodra and Korca.

The latest changes in higher education requested students to pay extra fee if they choose to take a test for a second time for grade improvement, a decision which was later canceled by the Ministry of Education.

The eight requirements by the students for the government include increasing education budget to 5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) with the aim of halving the fees for each level of study, improving teaching and infrastructure in universities, building libraries with European standards and online university book, free for students in Albanian language.

Romeo Hanxhari, a teacher who joined the protest in support of the students on Monday, told the local media Ora News that the students' demands were legitimate.

Mark Marku, another teacher, underlined that the requests are feasible, fair and simply need to be fulfilled as demanded.

"These requirements that the students have, were submitted by us (the teachers) four years ago. We opposed the law on higher education," Marku noted.

Earlier last week, Prime Minister Edi Rama said "yes" to the eight requests from the students and has repeated his call for dialogue. But the students insist on their decision not to accept dialogue with Rama.

On Sunday the students wrote a letter calling for a national protest, asking every student in Albania and all citizens to join.

"The solving of the student crisis is not completing eight to nine of their requests or reproaching some others. The mechanical fulfillment of those demands leaves the real cause of the problems in higher education," Albanian analyst Lorenc Vangjeli wrote in an article on Monday.

Last Thursday, Albanian President Ilir Meta decided to send back to the parliament the Budget 2019 asking the deputies to make changes regarding the student's request to raise the budget on education.

In a reaction on Monday, the socialist deputy Pjerin Ndreu declared that concerning the law on higher education, the majority will not make changes in the budget 2019.

According to the Socialist party, the problem stands on the implementation of the law on education. There are still some 20 sub-legal acts that have not yet come out.

Posted in: EUROPE

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